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American teen Mikaela Shiffrin earned her first career world title Saturday at the Alpine Ski World Championships in Schladming, Austria. The 17-year-old becomes the third youngest woman in history to stand atop the slalom podium.
“I haven’t yet realized what just happened. I don’t know if I ever will. It was crazy, there were so many emotions today. In the first run, I wasn’t quite awake and aware of the situation. Two minutes before the second run, I felt I could win and I did!”
Mikaela was the only one to sail under the 1:40 mark Saturday, clocking a time of 1.39.85 to beat Austria’s Michaela Kirchgasser by 0.22 seconds. Frida Hansdotter, back another 0.04, took bronze.
The world title caps an incredible sophomore season for Mikaela, who had already won three slalom World Cup titles. At this pace, she’s sure to be one of the favorites in Sochi next February.
U.S. men’s national team coordinator Kevin Mazeika‘s contract will not be renewed at the end of the year as USA Gymnastics makes changes after missing the men’s team podium at a second straight Olympics.
Mazeika was the U.S. men’s head coach at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, where the U.S. men earned team medals at a non-home Games for the first time. He then served as national team coordinator from 2009 through this year.
The U.S. men finished fifth at the last two Olympics.
USA Gymnastics will replace the national team coordinator role with a high-performance director “focused on sustained international success.”
“The coaches, committee members and staff did a thorough review of the existing structure and results, and then took a hard look at what is needed to prepare our athletes for success heading toward Tokyo and beyond,” USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny said in a press release.
MORE: U.S. women’s national team coordinator named
Two-time Olympic judo champion Kayla Harrison has joined mixed martial arts promotion World Series of Fighting, which says she is moving to MMA but won’t set a debut fight for at least a year.
Harrison, 26 and all but retired from judo, has been asked time and again for years about her interest in pursuing MMA. That’s in part because of former training partner Ronda Rousey‘s overwhelming success after she switched from Olympic judo.
Harrison hasn’t responded to messages seeking comment.
Harrison will serve as a commentator and brand ambassador before getting into MMA competition. Her commentating debut will be at WSOF 34 in New York on Dec. 31 on NBC.
Earlier this month, Harrison reiterated that she had offers on the table to sign a mixed martial arts contract, with interest from at least three “big” promotion companies.
Harrison has taken boxing and jiu-jitsu lessons as far back as 2013, which should boost her MMA potential.
To compete in MMA, Harrison will require a weight cut from her Olympic judo class of 172 pounds.
Rousey competes at 135 pounds, the heaviest women’s weight class in UFC. WSOF plans to develop a women’s program as Harrison readies for her debut.
“I’m interested in MMA in an aspect where competitors are treated as competitors and not as celebrities or as showmen,” Harrison said earlier this month, while emphasizing her admiration for Rousey. “I’m not interested in being a talker or someone who is all about the show.”
MORE: Ronda Rousey sets comeback fight